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Start Reducing Your Energy Costs Today

Start Reducing Your Energy Costs Today By Sarah Clark
HIPhome Columnist
December 31, 1969

As the cost of energy rises, conservation becomes increasingly important to homeowners. There are many steps you can take to reduce your energy consumption and some require very little effort.

Begin saving money by no longer using energy you don't need. Keep lights and electrical appliances like fans, radios, and televisions off in areas that are unoccupied. Set your water heater to 120 degrees and refrain from taking steaming hot showers (you'll be doing your skin a favor to boot). Make sure the dishwasher and washing machine are full when you run them.

AC and Heating Unit Maintenance

Maintaining your AC and heating unit is also vitally important to energy efficiency. Change air filters annually and have an HVAC technician inspect your system every couple of years to make sure it's in good working order. Remove debris, such as leaves and dirt, from outside vents. Keep the thermostat set at a temperature that provides just enough cool air or heat to be comfortable. In winter, wear long sleeves and pants indoors; wear fewer clothes inside in summer.

Avoid doing a lot of baking during summer months, especially if your home is small. If you must bake, invest in a toaster oven, which will emit considerably less heat.

Energy Efficient Products

If you are serious about saving energy, you might also consider buying an energy efficient AC and heating unit, one with an Energy Star label, for example. Keep in mind that you will probably only realize significant savings if your current system is very old or too big for your home.

Replace old, poorly insulated windows with double-pane windows, which also provide side benefits of blocking outside noise and preventing windows from fogging. Also, old refrigerators use a lot of energy; invest in a new energy efficient one. Some homeowners are also installing furnaces in an effort to reduce their reliance on natural gas. Furnace's can be expensive, so be sure to reconcile the cost of a new furnace against the amount of savings you expect to gain from using it.

About the Author
Sarah Clark is a freelance writer based in Arlington, Virginia.

*Before you apply any of the advice described on the Hip-home.com website, you should consider if the advice is safe and suitable for your individual home situation and consult experts as necessary to evaluate the suitability for your circumstances.
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